"Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." Edsger Dijkstra
In Years 7 to 9 students follow the Computing Key Stage 3 National Curriculum which leads them to progress to the Entry Level Computing qualification in Year 9. In Year 10 students can choose IGCSE ICT, or GCSE Computer Science. In the Sixth Form students are offered the opportunity to study for AS and A Level Computer Science as well A2 ICT.
In Year 7 students are introduced to the school network and they learn how to manage their own area. Through a range of user-oriented projects they develop their computing skills. These include the use of spreadsheet and databases to develop their knowledge of applications software as well creating their own programs using Scratch, a graphical programming language. They also develop their understanding of computing skills through the use of Flowol software to practise flow diagrams. This helps them to design computer programs and they are introduced to the binary number system to given them an appreciation of how computers function. In addition to this they complete a computing project to give them an opportunity to work independently to practise their new computing skills.
In Year 8 students build on the skills and knowledge introduced in Year 7 to increase their understanding of computing and its applications. During the course students learn how to use HTML and Dreamweaver software to create and edit their website project about a hobby/interest of their own. Students develop their understanding of handling data using a database and they learn how to search databases effectively. They develop their knowledge of computing systems and the internet through the study of Networks. Students develop their graphical skills by using animation software to prepare pictures and animations. Students begin to use a text based programming language called Small Basic to help them prepare for the Year 9 Computing course.
The Year 9 Computing course prepares students for the Entry Level Computing qualification. This qualification has three strands. These strands are: programming, a report discussing trends in computing and written examinations in hardware, software and logic. This course is internally assessed for all three strands through written work.
Over the course of the year students are taught to use Small Basic to cover the programming skills and following this they work independently on a programming project which they will document. They also complete a written report about an area of computing e.g. social network or mobile phones and evaluate the impacts of the technology. They learn theory about computing to help them to prepare for the written examination papers.
Cambridge Nationals IMedia
The Cambridge Nationals IMedia course is designed to help students to develop their creative skills. The course includes a wide range of graphics skills including graphics, animation and website design. Assessment is through one written paper and three non-examination assessments.
The CIE IGCSE is designed to help students become confident users of ICT through a series of relevant topics and active learning methods. A wide range of ICT skills are embedded within the practical content of this specification. Assessment is through two practical examinations and one written paper.
GCSE Computer Science
The OCR Computer Science GCSE course gets students working with real-world, practical programming techniques that give them a good understanding of what makes technology work. Assessment is through two written examination papers and one controlled assignment where students will have the opportunity to apply their programming knowledge and skills.
AS & A-Level Computer Science
Year 12 Computer Science
The Eduqas AS course is aimed to enable learners to develop:
- An understanding and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including: abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.
- The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so
- The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
- Mathematical skills
Assessment is through two written examination papers where students are assessed on their knowledge of how computers work and also on their understanding and application of computational thinking skills.
Year 13 Computer Science
The Eduqas A2 course is aimed to enable learners to develop the skills and knowledge to deeper level and builds on the foundations of the AS course.
Assessment is through two written examination papers where students are assessed on their knowledge of how computers work and also on their understanding and application of computational thinking skills. These contribute 80% of the final mark. Students also complete a project designed for their own client which contributes 20% of the final mark.